(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
Efforts to provide a reliable ambulance boat that will be able to transport persons who are sick and injured to Tortola for medical assistance are close to realization, now that the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) has put out a Request for Information (RFI) for the service.
The idea of an ambulance boat dates back many years, and successive administrations described the service as necessary to ensure that the sister island residents are catered to and provided for in the case of medical emergencies.
In moving forward with a plan for the ambulance boat, the BVIHSA emphasized that the service is necessary in order to provide a reliable and efficient medical transportation service to transfer patients from Virgin Gorda to Tortola and/or from Jost Van Dyke to Tortola for medical care.
According to the BVIHSA, the ambulance service is required to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and the Health Authority said that it is inviting relevant service providers to state their interest in providing the service by October 16.
It was also mentioned that the request is mainly for information and planning purposes, and is not to be mistaken for a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quote (RFQ), or a promise to issue an RFP or RFQ. “The RFI does not commit the BVIHSA to contract for any supply or service.”
As it relates to the vessel being sought, the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority said the vessel should be a Catamaran with outboard diesel engines capable of traveling at 35-40knots. It is expected to have a minimum diesel fuel tank 20 gallons and gas 120 gallons; plus have radio navigational aids (ADF) Satellite Global Navigational System, including navigational radar, light compass, radio equipment for water navigation.
It was stated that the vessel should also have a deck that consists of hand and grab rails, hull access hatches, 360 degree beacon warning lights, a horn, as well as a cabin that is covered, insulated and paneled for the patient and personnel.
Similarly, the vessel is required to have secured seating for personnel accompanying the patient, be air conditioned, have a fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, gas fume detector, and smoke detector; have a DC system with minimum of 12V. and power efficient generator.